16 September 2010

giving a three-year-old chores

Now that Mabry is three-years-old Dan and I decided it was time for her to have some responsibilities around the house.  We want to instill a sense of pitching in to help the family, responsibility, a good work ethic, etc. and felt a chore chart would help accomplish just that.


Dan and I decided to take it a step further and add in an allowance.  At first I didn't want to pay Mabry to accomplish her tasks.  I felt that they were things she should be learning to do and that as a part of the family, she should just do them.  We changed our minds after reading this post that my sister told me about.

Basically the blogger gives her children three quarters a week.  One quarter goes in their piggy bank to learn savings.  One quarter goes into their change purse to spend.  The last quarter goes with them to church to be put in the offering.  What a great way to show Mabry the three places we put our money: Jesus, saving and spending.

I was initially going to buy a marker board and create the chore chart on that and attach it to the fridge.  While scouring Walmart for a marker board a light went off in my head and I realized that the huge chalk board I had painted in the kitchen had enough space to draw a chore chart onto.  I used a white permanent marker I already had to make the lines for the chart and write the days of the week so that I don't have to redo them each week when I erase the board.


Deciding on what chores and how many to give her was a little more difficult.  I mean how much responsibility can a three-year-old really handle?  After much thought we narrowed it down to:

Making the bed each morning:  This really just involves helping me to put the pillows and her stuffed animals on the bed.  Someone happens to be way too short to actually make a bed.

Getting the newspaper:  Every morning the newspaper is delivered to our house and I usually pick it up out of the driveway when I go to get the mail.  It will now be Mabry's responsibility to go out with me and get the paper.

Putting her dishes away:  After she is finished with a meal she is to clear her place at the table and bring us the dishes.

Picking up toys:  The playroom looks like a bomb went off in it at least once a day.  Mabry is going to be given a specific group of toys  (all of the blocks or all of the Mr. Potato Head pieces, etc.) that she is going to have to pick up on her own and when she is done she is going to have to help me or Dan pick up the rest of the room.

Laundry:  When I am folding or doing the laundry she is going to have to help.  She likes to put things from the washer into the dryer already.  I have also taught her how to fold wash cloths and rags and she helps with that.  Now we need to work on putting things away.

The last thing on the list isn't really a chore.  It is just a daily reminder for us to work on learning her weekly Bible verse.  This is something I am going to talk about more in depth tomorrow.

So what do you think, chores for three-year-olds are they good?  Bad?  Should we have been doing this a year ago?  Should we have waited another year or two?


  1. Coming from someone who doesn't have kids I could be way off, but I really don't think that you are asking too much from her. I mean it would be crazy to expect her to actually make her own bed when she physically can't reach to pull up the covers. But bringing her dishes over after meals to the sink/dishwasher is something that she's capable of doing. Nice work Jess and Dan - I hope Mabry goes along with the plan :-)

  2. i think it's great jess. we start our kids on chores at 3 too. i think it's the perfect age b/c they are still so eager to help! sounds like all the chores are totally doable and really teaching her to help mommy and daddy...and to serve her family. i think it's wonderful and that the timing is perfect! :)
    if you stick with it these things will become habits for her and won't even feel like chores anymore! that is success! i think you are a great mom and that mabry is a very blessed little girl.


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